Approval Process

Last Updated: 5-5-2017Print page

Concept Plans can be formally approved through a SDCI/OPCD/SDOT Joint Director’s Rule. The Proponent develops a Street Design Concept Plan.

Proposal of Preliminary Concept Plan

The Proponent proposes the preliminary concept to City.

Pre-Application Conference

Proponent attends a pre-application conference with staff from SDOT, SDCI, OPCD, SPU and DON (if appropriate) to describe the vision for the Concept Plan and get input as to whether the proposal is feasible. In some cases, staff from other departments may need to be involved in making the final decision as to whether the concept proposed is feasible. In these instances, a final determination of whether the applicant should develop the Concept Plan will be made in writing within 30 days of the pre-application conference.

Develop Concept Plan

The Proponent develops Street Design Concept Plan.

City Review of Concept Plan

SDOT, in consultation with SDCI and OPCD, reviews the Concept Plan and describes the modifications or conditions that need to be met for City approval.

Proponent Revises Concept Plan as Requested by City

The Proponent modifies Concept Plan and re-submits to SDOT for final review and approval. SDOT will consult with applicable Departments and agencies before a decision is made.

Approval by OPCD/SDOT Joint Director’s Rule

SDOT and OPCD approve the Concept Plan by Joint Director’s Rule. The Joint Director’s Rule process has requirements for completion including listing the proposed design concept Rule in the Daily Journal of Commerce (DJC) and providing a 14 day appeal period prior to approval. The Rule must also be approved by the OPCD and SDOT Directors. Once approved, the Concept Plan is appended to this Manual and listed in List of Approved Street Design Concept Plans.

Summary of Approval Conditions

If a Concept Plan is approved by the City through a Joint OPCD/SDOT Director’s Rule, then the following applies:

  • SDOT has agreed that the proposals described are appropriate for the street or streets defined.
  • SDOT and OPCD have determined the vision for the streetscape and features described in the Concept Plan are consistent with a recognized community or City sponsored plan for the area.
  • The Concept Plan has had an appropriate level of review by SDOT and OPCD and by other interested stakeholders.
  • Once approved, the Concept Plan will be appended to this Manual and made available through this website. These actions will maintain a record of the proposed improvements, so that as new development proposals come forward within an area covered by a Concept Plan, the City can strongly encourage that the plan be followed.
  • Improvements on streets that have an adopted Concept Plan may be implemented at one time, or over a longer period of time by multiple development or street right-of-way improvement projects.
  • Preparation of a Concept Plan is encouraged for projects that are located on a designated Green Street or Neighborhood Green Street (refer to Green Streets).
  • Asset Management of any street right-of-way improvements that are beyond City standards is the responsibility of the property owners unless otherwise negotiated with SDOT. View more information about maintenance agreements related to streetscape improvements in Maintenance.

Key SDOT Considerations in Review of Street Design Concept Plans

Enhancements to the streetscape such as special paving treatments and street furnishings can contribute to the experience for pedestrians and help define neighborhood character. Well-designed streetscapes can support activities in neighborhood business districts, and make walking an attractive choice for getting around the city. SDOT recognizes and supports the range of benefits a well-designed streetscape provides for all pedestrians, including people with disabilities. For these reasons, SDOT reviews streetscape design elements very carefully to ensure that all of the materials, dimensions and design elements meet safety and accessibility requirements.

In addition to the aesthetic and practical benefits of a well-designed streetscape, SDOT must meet state and national safety and access standards for streetscape design. SDOT and SDCI are working together to better coordinate SDOT’s early involvement and guidance with the design review process. The information below describes the key issues that SDOT street use permit reviewers and engineers must consider when reviewing streetscape designs:

Use of Materials

Pavement materials must  comply with standards established by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for public safety.

Minimum Sidewalk Width, Areas Free of Obstructions

ADA requires a minimum of five feet of clear sidewalk space for two people in wheel chairs to pass one another. The street types depicted in this Manual specify the minimum sidewalk width requirements for the pedestrian clear zone, frontage zone and landscape/furniture zone.

Curbside Management

Curb space to accommodate bike lanes, parking, loading zones, transit zones, and other street elements is in very high demand in Seattle neighborhoods. Space for wider than standard sidewalks and planting strips affords the opportunity meet many City and neighborhood goals, including the need for on-street parking. Trade-offs are often necessary among the numerous uses competing for limited amounts of curb space. Transit system needs, including bus zones, must be accommodated to support quick and reliable transit service throughout the city. Get more information about curb space uses. Refer to the City of Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan priorities for curb space uses.